Friday, September 30, 2011
As Doctor Who finishes this Saturday with
what promises to be one of the most gripping episodes yet, another
of our favourite series featuring VFX from our BAFTA-winning Mill
TV team blasts back on screens with the magical adventures of
Series 4 opens a year on from the last and all appears calm in
the Kingdom of Camelot following the exile of the evil Morgana, but
things take a quick turn for the worse as her magical powers come
back stronger than ever and threaten to rock not only Arthur's
future, but the very balance of the world.
The dramatic opening episode features a host of deadly creatures
created by our Mill TV team, who are summoned by the mighty
Callieach at the request of the evil sorceress to tear open the
viel between worlds and wreak havoc. Arthur and his loyal
knights must do battle to save the kingdom and wizard Merlin is
forced to make a sacrifice of unimaginable proportions…
To remind yourself of some of the incredible creatures the Mill
TV team have created for the show, have a go at the 'Magical
Creatures Quiz' on the BBC's official website and see how your
A don't forget to tune in to a double Mill TV fest this Saturday
*Merlin, Saturday 1st October at
7.50pm on BBC One
*Doctor Who, Saturday 1st October
at 7.05pm on BBC One
Thursday, September 29, 2011
If you like the thought of a sexy burlesque queen pouring
champagne dangling from a loft ceiling in a hammock, drinking
exotic cocktails like the Royal Hampshire, The Pink Troyan and The
Firefly, and listening to DJ Zen Freeman spinning everything from
Adele to Fleetwood Mac, The Mill L.A.'s Launch Party and Fireflies
Ride Welcome Reception was the place to be Wednesday night. Over
400 industry colleagues and friends-including Old Spice phenom
Isaiah Mustafa and director extraordinaire Tom Kuntz who made a
special guest DJ appearance-turned up to celebrate The Mill's
spectacular new space and the Fireflies arrival from San Francisco.
This year the riders raised $60,000 for City of Hope cancer
"It was amazing to host so many of our favorite agency clients,
directors, editors, producers, artists and friends in our new
digital studio space," says The Mill L.A.'s MD, Ben Hampshire. "We
have hunkered down and worked hard together over the years and it's
always great to have some fun in a more relaxed setting! A big
thank you to everyone who came and made it such a fun party."
And if you missed the party, here are some photo highlights by our own Nick
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Tonight is the opening reception of 'Pigs Are Dicks,' a
multi-disciplinary, mixed-media group exhibit presented by Ovrcast
and Seahorse Sound Studios. The exhibit runs at Downtown L.A.'s The
Handbag Factory. It features artworks from an assorted group of
creative margin dwellers, including Mill Flame Artist Tara
Demarco's 'Watsontown 1'.
Among other artists showing are musicians from bands including
Oxbow, Saviours, Premonition13, Lightning Swords of Death,
Gypsy Hawk and Wino (himself). The 'Pigs Are Dick' opening
reception begins at 7 p.m. and also includes a live performance
from the band Ides of Gemini (featuring Sera Timms of Black Math
Thursday, September 29, 2011
It's always exciting to see which 12 films will make it
through to the Virgin Media Shorts' shortlist. Our Ben Burdock and
Will McGregor tell us what they thought of the 12 finalists' work
when they went to their screening at The Ritzy
"Virgin Media Shorts is now the most well-known short film
competition in the UK. It is an amazing platform for film makers to
get their work seen by members of the public and industry
professionals alike. This is a competition we are particularly fond
of, as we entered it last year, which helped to get our short film
seen by many people that may have never seen it otherwise.
The Ritzy cinema organised a fantastic event for the 12 shortlisted
films, which included a Q&A with previous winner Luke Snellin,
whilst also screening some of the most successful entries from
previous years. Seeing the 12 shortlisted entries on the big screen
really enhanced the experience, as viewing the films online
wouldn't have done them justice. All of the shortlisted entries
will be screened before films at Picturehouse cinemas across the
UK, which must be a great feeling for the budding film
The quality of all 12 entries was outstanding. Highlights included
the very surreal 'Bistro' and the animated short 'InaniMate', which
was made by Michael ODonoghue, who is a runner at The Mill!
If you haven't seen the films yet you can check them out
Be sure to vote for the people's choice award as well!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The Fireflies 'West' are making their way down the coast from
San Francisco, in the midst of their 4th annual ride for charity.
Thus far for this year's ride the Fireflies have raised over
$50,000 for City of Hope hospital's leukemia and lymphoma research
and treatment for a cure.
For those unable to tear themselves away from the office to join
the riders, check out the Fireflies App It allows users to track the
riders and donate directly to the cause from their iPhones. And if
that's not enough, British Weekly, America's only weekly British
newspaper, has given the ride a plug as well. Check it out here!
Stay tuned for more as the Fireflies get closer to Los Angeles
where their ride ends on Wednesday with a warm welcome party at The
Mill L.A. To read play by play of each day's journey from our own
Los Angeles MD Ben Hampshire, or to donate, go here: www.fireflieswest.com
Friday, September 23, 2011
Directing Duo The Daniels have proven their unique storytelling
prowess yet again with their latest project for experimental-rock
group Battles. To bring the video (or escalator) to life, The
Daniels turned to Lead Flame Artist Andy Bate of the Mill LA to
lead the project. The video, which shows a young man's never-ending
escalator ride he can't seem to escape, has premiered on Pitchfork
and is getting recognition for the VMA-nominated young
The promo was produced by Adam Reeb and also employed the talents
of Flare Artists Steve Cokonis and Gareth Parr, and colorist Greg
Read the LA Times' prediction for MVA honors
Thursday, September 22, 2011
The Mill and Beam are pleased to announce they are
partnering with onedotzero - adventures in motion festival which
will be taking place at the BFI Southbank from the 23 - 27 November
onedotzero has been championing young talent for 15 years now
through innovation in motion, from short films and animation, to
music videos, interactivity, digital art and everything in
between. They have provided an early platform to the likes of
then-unknown artists such as Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham and
Jonathan Glazer, as well as pioneering VJ-ing and interactive
installation work from UVA, Jason Bruges and Daniel Brown.
Alex Webster, Head of Content at The Mill comments, "This is a
great opportunity for The Mill to collaborate with a true pioneer
within the motion design community. Personally, I am and have been
for a long time a huge fan of onedotzero, their work and what they
represent. We're genuinely excited to be working with Shane, Sophie
and the whole onedotzero team for the adventures in motion
And Kate Georgiou Head of Sales at Beam explains: "We are very
happy to be working with onedotzero and supporting young upcoming
talent. We've created a tapeless digital workflow that
enables entrants to upload files over 20 GB in size. This is
the first year onedotzero requested HD files and Beam has been
handling over 5 Terabytes of HD and SD assets so the process needed
to be seamless".
For more information visit onedotzero's
Monday, September 19, 2011
Rob Petrie is the Head of 3D at The Mill New
York. He began his career at The Mill London as a
runner, and after only five months the 3D department brought him
onboard full-time. In 2007 Rob made his move to The Mill NY where
he worked as Lead 3D Artist on an array of high-profile projects
including the OFFF 2010 Opening Titles, a 2011 Design
Gold Lion winner, AT&T's 'Birthday', an AICP honoree, and
Daft Punk's 'Derezzed', a promo for Disney's TRON: Legacy
We asked Rob a few questions about the future of VFX, and this
is what he had to say:
Q) Which CG visual effects do you feel had the most
impact in recent years?
A) The films that I feel have made the biggest
impact are the ones that use FX to drive the story and leave a
lasting imprint in your mind. It's not so much the wow factor, but
FX that take us within the film itself. Some films that spring to
mind are Gladiator , Road to Perdition
 and Cloverfield . They are not trying to
create bigger and more fantastical FX, but let the narrative drive
what the FX should create -- a balance.
Q) On which sequences would you have liked to work?
A) Two sequences spring to mind: Blade
Runner's Spinners in the rain , and the ship leaving
orbit in The Last Star Fighter . I would like to
have worked on more traditional forms of FX, and I would like to
have been in the industry when computer animation was this new
medium and it lived alongside traditional techniques. I still love
the way a Lambert shader looks on a great model. If the
design is great, then the rest will follow.
Q) What upcoming technologies do you believe will be
A) I think processing power will be the key
driving force. GPU-accelerating rendering is something I can see
being used more and more.
Q) What sort of VFX can we expect to see moving
A) I see the holy grail of photo real humans
still being the goal of many studios and filmmakers.
Avatar  was that next step, and I'm sure films such
as The Hobbit  will raise the bar even higher.
Q) What technologies/methods do you feel may
fall by the wayside?
A) It's hard to say. Over the last 10 years I have not
really seen anything fall away but just be improved and become more
user friendly to adapt to the artists' needs. It would have been
hard to believe 10 years ago that programs such as Marind Mudbox
would become such an integrated part of production, so I guess
Photoshop is definitely the decline within our studio when it comes
Q) What technologies/methods need the most
A) I have to say it comes back to computing power. With
commercial companies, we need to try and keep up along side with
such facilities as Weta and ILM. The sheer amount of processing
power is colossal and with that you can keep pushing the bar
Q) What is the greatest hindrance to improving
A) Speaking within the realm of Visual FX in a commercial
environment, it has to be time constraints. Time on production has
gone down over the last 10 years so it's always a challenge to
produce high end visual FX with such short deadlines. This is where
new tools and developments in software are crucial to keep up with
these challenges. Render power has become more important than ever
to keep pushing the envelope and creating visually stunning pieces
Q) And finally, what has been your favorite
Mill job to date?
A) I think it has to be the Daft Punk promo for
'Derezzed.' Firstly, just because it was a Daft Punk video and
secondly, it was fun to revert back 25 years and create visuals
with the feel and techniques of a promo from the early 80's.
After all, who doesn't like the 80's?!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
To get ready for this year's Autumn/Winter collection, we helped
Dutch artist duo Lernert & Sander and White Lodge create a
captivating series of short fashion films for Fantastic Man
Using two professional figure skaters, a selection of menswear
from the current Autumn/Winter collections and some spectacular
technology including the Photron BC2 camera, capturing 2,000 frames
per second, Lernert & Sander have made five films that reveal
both the beauty of the garments and the captivating aesthetics of
winter's most appealing sportive discipline - figure skating.
The five films each show one full 360° spin of high virtuosity in
super slow motion. "You see a split second stretched out to about
one minute. You can almost 'walk around' the garment," say Lernert
& Sander of the chosen approach. "It's extremely interesting to
see the garments and the skaters in such intimate detail."
Our VFX producer Andrew Patrick explains 'Logistically Fantastic
Man required The Mill's dedicated Rotoscope Team who worked
tirelessly to create ten perfect mattes from below the skaters hip.
Our flame artists Chris Scott, Zoe Cassey and Ilia Mokhareizadeh
then cleaned up the cracks in the artificial ice rink to give a
seamless plate of ice. They then composited the skater, skates and
shadows back into the new environment to achieve this visually
The films are appearing online on www.fantasticman.com all week,
coinciding with the worldwide release of the 14th issue of
Fantastic Man. The films will also be part of the 4th A Shaded View
on Fashion Film Festival presented by Diane Pernet at the Centre
Pompidou, Paris, from October 7 to 9, 2011.